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How to Remove Sediment from Your Water Heater in 4 Ways

Need to flush your water heater to remove sediment? Let Green Energy Mechanical Inc. handle it when you call 877-502-7727.

Sediment buildup can wreak on your appliances. Over time, hard water can destroy not only your water heater but also your dishwasher, faucets, and washer. Annual maintenance and whole-home solutions like water softeners are the best ways to extend the life of your appliances.

If you’re unsure how to remove sediment from your water heater, this guide is for you.

As the #1 company for water heater repair in Canton, MA, Green Energy Mechanical Inc. shares four ways to clean your water heater.

1. Flush Your Water Heater

We suggest flushing your water heater twice a year to prevent sediment doesn’t build up. You can flush both gas and electric water heaters using these five steps.

Step 1. Turn Off the Water Heater and Valve

First, make sure no one in your is using hot water or will need it in the next couple of hours.

If you have an electric water heater, turn it off at the circuit breaker. Turning it off only at the water heater doesn’t ensure your safety. If you have a gas water heater, turn the thermostat to the pilot light setting.

Next, turn off the cold water valve. With this shut, hot water cannot enter the unit, and you can drain your water heater tank. If you forget this part, water will continually cycle through your tank instead of draining. This could cost you a lot of money.

Step 2. Let the Water Cool

Skipping this step can cause scalding water to drain from your tank, risking severe burns. Depending on the size of your tank, this can take up to two hours.

Step 3. Position the Hose

Attach a hose to the drain valve on the side of your hot water. Secure it tightly by twisting it to avoid leaks while draining. 

Place the other end of the hose in a drain or large bucket. Make sure the bucket is heat-proof in case the water is still hot. Make sure the drain is free of clogs and big enough to handle the water volume.

Step 4. Drain

Before draining, turn on at least one (preferably two) hot water faucets anywhere in your home. This keeps the water moving and prevents a vacuum. You won’t see much water coming from them; that’s okay.

Slowly turn the water heater drain valve using a flathead screwdriver. When you’re sure there won’t be any leaks, open it fully.

Step 5. Drain and Finish

When sediment stops draining from your water heater, use the screwdriver to close the drain valve. Unscrew the hose, and turn the cold water valve back on. Turn the water heater back on using either the thermostat or the circuit breaker.

Keep your other faucets on until they return to a normal water flow, then turn them off. In about a half hour, test your hot water. It should be sediment free!

2. Vinegar Soak

When considering how to remove sediment from your water heater, a vinegar soak is a good practice. Vinegar is excellent at dissolving hard water stains and sediment.

After you flush your water heater but before you unhook everything, close the drainage valve. Pour a gallon of vinegar into the tank and wait six hours. When it’s soaked long enough, finish the flushing process.

3. Set the Water Temperature Properly

Setting your water heater too hot puts you at risk of burning yourself and also encourages sediment buildup. Setting your water heater to 120 Fahrenheit is the ideal temperature. This increases the longevity of your water heater and is the best temperature for energy-efficient water heating.

4. Install a Water Softener

Installing a water softener can be the best long-term solution to preventing sediment buildup. If you’re sick of draining your water heater twice a year, this might be the best solution for you.

A water softener can be expensive to install and requires maintenance. However, in terms of saving you time and prolonging the life of your water heater, the upfront cost is worth it.

Have Green Energy Mechanical Inc. Handle All Your Water Heater Needs

Don’t worry about how to remove sediment from a water heater. If it’s time for your heating system flush, give us at Green Energy Mechanical Inc. a call, and we’ll do it for you.

Call us at 877-502-7727, or email us at to see how we can help you with your water heater!

Author Bio:

Jonathan Neves

Worked in the HVAC industry since he was 17. He started as an HVAC service technician for commercial buildings and eventually came into the residential market because of his love of working with people. He believes that what really sets Green Energy Mechanical apart is how long they stand behind their work and how compassionate his employees are for their clients.


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